Last week, the Patagonia Vancouver store was buzzing with community spirit despite the icy conditions challenging the city. Sierra Club BC partnered with Patagonia to host a special screening of the documentary Jirishanca, followed by a Q&A with Patagonia Climb Ambassador Sonnie Trotter.
Patagonia donated 100% of the proceeds to support Sierra Club BC’s work helping create a brighter future for the lands, waters, and living beings of British Columbia. A big thank you to everyone who purchased raffle tickets and drinks!
The documentary follows the journey of Josh Wharton and Vince Anderson as they attempt to summit Jirishanca in Peru – one of the most difficult peaks to summit in the Cordillera Huayhuash. These alpinists face a challenge as they follow an unfinished route to the summit, which has changed significantly over the years as temperatures have warmed in the Andean Mountain Range.
Parts of the mountain that used to be solid glacier are now just exposed rock or have melted into difficult-to-navigate icy overhangs. Wharton spent 7 years returning to Jirishanca to re-attempt the route and noted that each year he saw significant changes to the ice cover on the mountain. Throughout the film Wharton and Anderson reflect on the effects on climate change on alpinism and climbing, the risks they take as climbers who are also parents, and how crucial it is to have strong bonds with your climbing partner, community, and the places you climb.
David Quigg, Organizer with Sierra Club BC gave a moving speech before the film. David’s words reminded us of the intricate bond between outdoor sports and the natural world and our shared responsibility to care for places we love.
As David noted, and what was echoed in the film is that our actions, stories, and ability to work as a collective play a crucial role in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. He shared: “This film tonight is a love story to a sport and the ecosystems that support it. Ice climbers are used to dealing with something that is constantly changing. But what do we do about climate change? The biggest challenge of all. An answer I like to give when people ask what is the best thing an individual can do about climate change? Is to be less of an individual.”
David ended his speech on a heartening note. “And finally, what can you do in your everyday lives? Of course, that is a much longer conversation, but one thing is… Tell your story. Make it a love story. Learn the stories of this land from the First Nations it belongs to. When we share what we love and why we love it, people pay attention.”
If we missed you at the screening, here are a few ways that you can join Sierra Club BC in taking meaningful action.
Send a letter: This only takes one minute! Send a message to the B.C. government calling for a provincial law that prioritizes biodiversity and ecosystems.
Donate: Sierra Club BC is a registered charity, and your donation helps ensure the places we love remain intact for future generations. Even a gift as small as $8 can make a difference.
Go deeper: Everyone has talents that can help ecosystems – whether you’re a hiker, artist or caregiver. Join our network of action takers for diverse and meaningful ways you can make a difference in your community.
Photos by Mary Paquet